The Democrat nightmare became a reality in Virginia as voters handed Republican Glenn Youngkin a convincing victory in the race for governor. With 99% of the vote counted, Youngkin holds 50.7% of the tally as Democrat Terry McAuliffe trails more than 70,000 ballots behind on 48.6%. In a contest that was touted as a referendum on both Donald Trump and President Joe Biden’s agenda, the results will have the White House and Congress scrambling for a new strategy ahead of the 2022 congressional elections.
“What happens in Virginia will in large part determine what happens in 2022, 2024, and on,” warned Vice President Kamala Harris while on the McAuliffe campaign trail. This prediction will likely haunt Democrats and be a rallying cry for Republicans as the big election season begins. The Dems threw everything but the kitchen sink at this election and came up short. All-star cast cameos from Barack Obama and the Biden top team, Get Out The Vote mailers from Hillary Clinton, and even celebrity endorsements failed to swing the needle. Harris might come to regret her prognostication sooner rather than later.
The Immediate Aftermath
Although McAuliffe has yet to concede officially, almost all major outlets have called the race for Youngkin, who delivered an excitable victory speech in the early hours. He said:
“Together, together, we will change the trajectory of this commonwealth. And friends, we are going to start that transformation on day one. There is no time to waste. Our kids can’t wait; we work in real-people time, not government time. So on day one, we’re going to work. We’re going to restore excellence in our schools.
“Friends, we’re gonna embrace our parents, not ignore them.”
Schools and education became the touchpaper for Youngkin early on in his campaign. It was a strategy that wrongfooted former Governor McAuliffe, whom many pundits will suggest began to lose when he averred that parents should not be in control of educational content. Instead of being a local issue, the idea that critical race theory should be any part of school curricula ignited parents all over the country.
As Liberty Nation’s senior political analyst Tim Donner wrote on Monday, November 2:
“What went so wrong, so suddenly for the former Clinton consigliere? It can be summed up in one word: education. If McAuliffe does in fact lose, the turning point will be crystal clear. It was during a debate with Youngkin, when he proclaimed – with words likely to live in political infamy – about the single biggest hot-button issue of the day: ‘I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.’ Thus began his freefall in the polls, unabated as the last wave of voters cast their ballots.”
No New Strategy
Hand in hand with the Fourth Estate, Democrats have been using the threat of a Trump resurgence as a cudgel with which to coerce lawmakers into toeing the party line and drive voters to the polls. A year has passed since the 2020 presidential election, and yet the 45th president still dominates the front pages of most left-leaning news outlets; The Donald has become The Boogeyman. As evidenced by McAuliffe’s repeated touting of the former president’s name and Joe Biden’s severe case of mentionitis (24 times in just 17 minutes), the strategy to hold Virginia rested on the idea that a vote for the blue would be a rejection of Trump.
With no substantive legislation in hand and the invoking of the dreaded Trump a spent force, Democrats will need a new strategy if they hope to retain some measure of power come 2022. There is little doubt that party strategists are now scrambling for a convincing narrative to explain the loss. As of publishing time, it seems that comms have gone dark.
When the dust settles, and folks begin looking for answers, it seems a portion of the blame will be laid at the feet of Joe Biden. Prior to election day, speaking from Glasgow, the president said, “We’re gonna win. I think we’re gonna win in Virginia.” He continued:
“I don’t believe, and I’ve not seen any evidence that whether or not I am doing well or poorly, whether or not I’ve got my agenda passed or not, is going to have any real impact on winning or losing … Even if we had passed my agenda, I wouldn’t claim we won because Biden’s agenda passed. But I think it’s, I think it’s going to be very close.”
Although Biden may not have seen his stalled legislative agenda as a major drawback, those running for office under the Democrat banner almost certainly do.
The Virginia election result is a severe blow to Democrats in general and Joe Biden in particular. Perhaps Youngkin was simply the better candidate – free from political baggage – but that will likely not put 2022 hopefuls at ease. Candidates who have already planned an anti-Trump campaign buoyed by support from the sitting president will this morning be in freefall. Old Dominion has been turning bluer by the year, a trend that Democrats had hoped was true across the nation.
Virginia may have just regained its status as one of the most significant bellwethers in the country, and with that, Joe Biden’s party has been cast into chaos.
~ Read more from Mark Angelides.